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My Husband is MIA for DIY

22 Sep

I’m married to a carpenter. He does beautiful work. In other people’s homes.

We’ve lived in our home since 1997. Since then, I have asked him, bribed him, threatened him, cajoled him to fix a few things around the house and to help me maintain day-to-day functions. Like not leaving his huge man things everywhere and not allowing the garage to morph into an episode of Hoarders.

My vision:

I want.

I want.

My reality:

No, we don't need three nonfunctioning lawnmowers and a baker's dozen fly swatters.

No, we don’t need three nonfunctioning lawnmowers and a baker’s dozen fly swatters.

I went out and bought a docking station to tame those pesky wires and um, Sharpies.

Aaaand he turned it into a wire gang bang.

And he turned it into a wire gang bang.

One day, it started to rain. And then this happened. It was 2003.

No. I don't see Jesus's face. Fix the fucking ceiling.

No. I don’t see Jesus’s face. Fix the fucking ceiling. Love you.

It remains like that to this very day.

In an effort to streamline the bajilly pieces of paper that enter our home daily (seriously, it’s 2013, people…would it kill you to save a tree?) I went to Home Goods and picked-up like fourteen baskets to put shit in. I asked the hubs to start putting the mail in files.

My vision:

Serenity now.

Serenity now.

Nailed it:

Now that's what I call a filing system. Call Martha Stewart.

Now that’s what I call a filing system. Call Martha Stewart.

My vision:

A beautiful beachy chic mantle.

A beautiful beachy chic mantle.

I tell you what. Nothing says elegant coastal living like this big, yellow fuck off wire draped across your mantle.

A little to the left...

Nailed it.

I even told him that I saw on Dr. Oz that leaving your kids’ toothbrushes next to the sink can cause malaria.

It's like the man has no fear.

It’s like the man has no fear.

I admit. I like pretty things. So do you. Sure, it’s not always rationale or functionally necessary to have an antique decantur next to the baby food, but it makes me happy to create a beautiful home. Regardless of the amount of lead paint in an heirloom.

Yup. That goes there.

Yup. Those go right there.

He took down all of our closets to “add space.” Now, we have nowhere to keep the vacuum.

What if someone suddenly drops a cookie. What if?!

What if someone suddenly drops a cookie. What if?!

Or our clothes.

So when I said walk-in closet, I didn't mean for you to construct a huge fucking rack. In the middle of our bedroom.

So when I said walk-in closet, I didn’t mean for you to construct a huge fucking rack. In the middle of our bedroom.

My vision:

Too much to ask?

Too much to ask?

We like it Dr. Seuss style I guess.

We like it Dr. Seuss style I guess.

I’ve even tried reverse psychology. “Who needs mirrors? Mirrors are for vain people. Don’t hang those mirrors. Ever.”

If you don't mind, I'd really rather imagine how many more wrinkles I have this morning.

If you don’t mind, I’d really rather imagine how many more wrinkles I have this morning.

Oh look! There I am. Nope.

Oh look! There I am again. Nope.

I even promised extremely kinky sex to slap a fixture on this bad boy. We moved here sixteen years ago.

I even promised extremely kinky sex to slap a fixture on this bad boy. We moved here sixteen years ago.

So I played hardball and gutted the bathroom while he was at work. Last May.

Um, sorry?

He called my bluff.

It’s all fun and games until you see your house in the daylight. Sober.

No husbands were harmed in the making of this blog post.

Mother’s Day Wishlist

10 May

A Dyson. Because being a mom doesn’t suck. And because a vacuum is the perfect gift for pushing two babies out of your vagina and then having your nipples chewed off for the following ten months. Nope. But I figure if I am in charge of picking up after three animals, I may as well be efficient.

Animals. All of you.

Animals. All of you.

After I wake up from my bedsore worthy sleep-in, I immediately want liquor and desserts for breakfast in bed. Oh wait. That’s right. My husband’s over thirty soccer league has a game scheduled for eight o’clock in the morning. On Mother’s Day. Evidently the team will crumble without him. After all, this is the big league. And none of the players have mothers, wives or children seemingly.

Mommy's busy.

Mommy’s busy.

I want my bedroom back. If I roll over on top of a Lego one more time, I am burning them all. Do you have any idea how badly that hurts? Like rolling over on a landmine. I wake up screaming and furiously karate chopping the air. Unless Legos are shaped like Eddie Vedder or Johnny Depp, they just don’t belong in my bed.

What I dream of my bedroom looking like.

What I dream of my bedroom looking like.

What my bedroom actually looks like. Hey hun, can you pass me that chicken wing?

What my bedroom actually looks like. “Hey hun, can you pass me that chicken wing?”

Speaking of bed. I want a hotel room. I’d like to sleep alone one night. All alone. Without someone holding my nose like a handle, while kicking me in the spleen and headbutting me in the face. All alone. I don’t care if it’s a rent by the hour joint. I don’t even mind if there are cockroaches. As long as they tuck me in, are quiet and don’t smoke. Those little fuckers can totally chill with me.

Oh my god, they're multiplying.

Oh my god, they’re multiplying. And we’re never having sex again.

Wine. Magnums of it. I’m talking backstroke in a tub full of Chardonnay, while you pour Cabernet in my mouth. Because my three-year old is a caveman and tells me thrice daily that I am stupid. And my six-year old bullies me like Real Housewives of Orange County bullies me. Wine. All day.

Me on Sunday. In wine.

Me on Sunday. In wine.

Major reconstructive surgery on my stomach. Despite core strengthening and intense cardio, I fear that my stomach will always look like it was set on fire. Twice. That belly button ring I got when I was seventeen was a fan-fucking-tastic idea though. Really. Not too sexy when your stomach stretches seventeen thousand times bigger than the size of your seventeen year old midriff. Dumbass.

Aw, isn't that precious. Wait until the baby comes and you look like a fucking narwal that was caught in a barbed wire net and it ripped your flesh to pieces.

Aw, isn’t that precious. Wait until the baby comes and you look like a fucking narwhal that was caught in a barbed wire net and it ripped your flesh to pieces.

For one…just one blessed family photo that doesn’t involve me screaming during the taking of said photo. “Look at the camera, kids…daddy, look at the camera (seriously?!) Look at the camera, please. I’ll give you a million dollars to look at the camera…Look at the damn camera!” <Sobbing.>

Oh fuck off. That's not even possible. I call photoshop bullshit.

Oh fuck off. That’s not even possible. I call Photoshop bullshit.

Did I mention liquor?

For my children and husband to learn how to see. “Hun, have you seen my soccer shirt? Mom, where are my shoes? Mumma, where’s my favorite rocket ship?”

“They’re in the backyard with the Legos. I lit them all on fire. Glug. Glug. Glug.”

Happy Mother’s Day, bitches. Booze and snarkism aside, this crazy, exhausting, amazing privilege is worth every single minute. I love you F & R.

Mompetition

11 May

TIME Magazine’s controversial article and photo Are You Mom Enough? and the timing of this blog post are purely coincidental, albeit apropos.

Confession: I fully admit that when I first saw the cover of TIME, I couldn’t have cared less that the woman still breastfeeds her eight-year old (if that child is three-years old, then I’m a dancing chicken). I was more enthralled with her balls of (recycled) steel and confused as to why TIME portrayed nursing as provocative. Ew. 

But what did strike me was the deeper question. (And this is way more to me than breastfeeding for an extended period of time.) Is the pressures of modern-day motherhood hurting our culture? And have we “lost our ability to trust our own instincts…” as Dr. Logan Levkoff so eloquently put it.

Have the pressures and consequent mompetition gotten to an all time high? Or should I say low? It’s like if you’re not nursing your kids until they’re four, composting your baby’s bowel movements, while making baby food from organic, raw, clean, quinoa fed vegetables in a recycled spiralizer made out of hemp and flax seed…and perseverating over all of the above, well, you’re just not cutting it as a mom.

Dinner is ready! I grew it in our victory garden.

Mompetition has certainly evolved. Gone are the days when soccer moms were at the top of the Mommy pecking order. Nope. Now, it’s more than having a mini-van, perfectly curled bangs and a cardigan draped loosely over your shoulders. Now moms are having a face(book)-off as to who has it rougher. Who can do more. Who can do it all and in the most difficult, yet organized and perfectly timed way possible, while looking amazing. Of course.

She probably let your kids watch television.

Watch this clip and OH MY GOD WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THIS?

But let’s be honest, mompetition really begins when your child is in utero:

Nowadays moms-to-be “should” want to give birth in the woods, by themselves, hanging from a tree limb, Mayan style. Don’t get me wrong, I have fully supported all of my friends in their quest for their ideal birth. I love when women get to have the experience that is right for them. But now I read these articles and it’s not just about having a “natural” childbirth anymore. The more pain, degree of difficulty and of course less “intervention” the better. Not sure when having medical personnel handy when you’re about to attempt bringing a baby into the world was coined “intervention.”  

Oh you love your baby, Alicia? Tell us all about it.

I remember when I was pregnant with my first. A co-worker (or it could have been a stranger on the street because we all know that absolutely nothing is sacred when it comes to pregnancy) asked me:

“Are you getting an epidural? Or are you trying for a natural childbirth?”

Me: “I think I’m just going to try to get the baby out one way or another without dying and in the safest way possible for me and my baby.” There’s a novel idea.

And natural childbirth? I’m not sure you can get more natural than creating life. I got an epidural. And it still hurt like a sonofabitch and it was still hard. I didn’t take narcotics and I didn’t so much as take a Tylenol when I was pregnant. But, I felt more natural after my two children were born than I had ever felt in my entire life. And I am just thankful that I didn’t pee on the doctor. That’s a lie. I totally peed on the doctor. Twice.

Me in labor. Truth.

I have a hard time imagining my grandmother, who raised six children, competing with other moms. Asking them if they got an epidural, if they exclusively breastfed and if they fed their children dye-free, organic food. Then again, they typically knocked a woman out with ether during birth, but that’s neither here nor there. My point is that I think women were too busy being moms to bother competing. And of course having conversations about  women’s rights. And drinking highballs. And they fed their kids mayonnaise and it was awesome. Now I want a highball and mayonnaise.

She feeds her baby formula. She must not love him.

And disposable diapers? Why don’t you just pour chlorine down your baby’s gullet? Or just throw your garbage in the ocean? Slacker. When did we start measuring the success of motherhood based on the receptacle in which our baby poops? When did the objective become making all of our lives more difficult? Isn’t it hard enough? And don’t we still have a ton to learn? If my daughter doesn’t kill me with a flat-iron when she’s sixteen, I’ll consider myself a success.

If only I had homeschooled her…

Speaking of overcomplicating things, what’s with the baby carriers? The Baby Bjorn is no longer sufficient. Do we have Maggie Gyllenhaal to blame for this? Try following this tutorial after not sleeping for three weeks. I ended up weeping on my sitz bath, contemplating selling my baby on the internet because I was clearly unfit.

Yup. Seventeen minutes later and you look like a drunk Samurai and your baby is still screaming. Only this time she’s in a full split.

And can it be okay to not have our kids in eight hundred activities? “Sorry, little Banjo has soccer, jai-alai, origami, Mandarin lessons and statistic club, so we’re not going to make your son’s stupid, low-rent birthday party at the Bowlerdome.”

I wonder if the pendulum will ever swing in the other direction. If we will ever be satisfied with doing the best we can with the resources that we have. I hope to get my children into adulthood, healthy, happy and kind. I’m not sure if that makes me mom enough, but they certainly seem to like me and I’m having a ton of fun.

Mother Cluckin Guilt

3 Feb

In the wake of two great articles, Don’t Carpe Diem and Friendly Fire, going viral, we thought it was an appropriate time to publish this guest blog submitted a few weeks ago. 
 
“I’m not one of those mothers.” I hear my conscience saying that often.

As if it would be so bad to have your whole family out in stained pajamas, eating McDonalds?

Remember when McDonald's was a treat and not the devil?

Mother Clucking Guilt. We look around and judge. Ourselves, others, internally, out loud. To anyone who will affirm that we are better moms than those that we judge.

Your friend puts her kids to bed at 9:00 pm, you scoff and think, how could she keep that baby up so late? Yours are blissfully dreaming at 7:00 pm…and then at 10:00 pm and 1:00 am and…now who’s the dummy?

So when you said family bed, you meant it literally.

For the most part we’re just critiquing ourselves by comparing our strategies and philosophies to others. Hell, my writing this post is merely a shot out to the Universe “AM I DOING THIS RIGHT?!”

And what’s right and what’s wrong as a mother? Does anyone have a guidebook to navigating the world of cloth diapers, homemade baby food, paraben free, no pvbs, pvcs, bfps, (what do these acronyms stand for?) Can’t we just stop putting bad shit in our stuff so we do not have to do this song and dance? At least I don’t smoke crack or spank my kids. Right?

And then we go to Target looking for “organic” baby wash products on sale. Doesn’t that defeat the larger purpose by giving  money to big corporations?

Can you tell me where the composters are? I swear I'm a hippie.

Man. It’s tough to be a mom. We all compare notes and offer advice and still have guilt.

If you’re a stay at home mom (SAHM) – See, we even have acronyms for different types of moms now. Aren’t we just moms? Period? – you feel guilty for not contributing financially but you’re supposed to feel good that you’re there for your kids “full-time.” You stay home and cater to everyone but yourself and then feel guilty for wanting a life of your own.

"If anyone needs me, Mommy will be anesthetizing herself with vodka in the bathtub..."

If you “work outside of the home” (it’s no longer politically correct to say working mom unless you want a mob of stay at home moms on your door step) you feel guilty for putting your kids in childcare and not spending enough time with them.

"Yes, that's M for Mental Hospital..."

Or you’re one of the “lucky” moms with a work at home job situation. Because it’s so easy to get work done with your two-year old clung to your leg.

"Now wait. Let's think outside the box here...Henry put the blowtorch down."

Mom Guilt is a whore. You feel her with you all of the time. Guilty if you let your kids snack too much, not enough, or not on the right things. Guilty if you don’t cloth diaper, breast feed or feed them 100% organic food. Guilty if you accidentally swear in front of your kids, guilty if you drink in front of your kids, guilty if you yell at your kids. It’s like one big guilt trip train ride and we’re all just fueling the engine with more guilt by looking around and judging. Then that inner critic gets the best of us and we fall into the traps of modern society.

Where did we go wrong and when did this guilt start? Is it just in America or is this happening all over the world? Do these mothers feel guilty? I’d say not. Those bitches have flying saucers hanging from their lips.

Nope. No guilt. Just a tremendous amount of pain.

Why do Moms bear the burden of guilt for the whole family? Did I screw up my kids while I was pregnant, did they inherit my aunt’s crazy gene? Should I baptize, christen or even cover religion given society? We’re creating rounded individuals folks, let’s not for one minute forget to give them faith!

I'm feeling slightly unstable.

I had my eighty-year old grandmother stay with us for a weekend and I knew I was under strict scrutiny. A mother to six kids post World War II era. She has withstood the test of a fifty plus year marriage (how?), has raised kids, fed her kids formula (because it was a women rights issue not to!) and marched right into this century feeling no guilt at all. She observed the ways of the new mom era and told me that she thought that the way we do it is better. We focus more on the kids and less on our husbands, house and other stuff. (Dig.) Although she did tell me my windows were dirty.

"Is this pan just darling!"

She also commended me on how I nursed my baby, on how patient I was with my children, on how I let them run amuck all throughout the house (that never would have flown in her day). And I left the weekend feeling pretty good about myself. After all, I do have good kids. Except for when they pee in public.

I tried to sell my cloth diaper collection the other day and I could not work up the courage to actually part ways. Not because they are better for my baby and not because I think they are absolutely adorable, but because I was worried what others might think. “See she couldn’t do it…I told you.” I could hear the schizophrenic judging all the way to the laundry room so I did my best and gave it another shot. Day two and my kids have done a combined eleven poops. Who’s really winning this battle? And what’s a little bit of chlorine going to do anyway?
Rather than live with all this pent up guilt, I’ll just say it and rid myself of the dead (midriff) weight I’ve been carrying around:

 I don’t sterilize the pacifiers every time they fall on the floor.

I don’t brush my kids’ teeth twice daily.

I let my kids watch T.V. (“T.V.! T.V.! T.V.!” That’s all I hear now.)

I don’t spend ALL day playing educational games with the kids.

I don’t always wipe when the kids pee. (They’re boys!) But I do try to wipe when I pee.

I feed my baby formula when I want a night of libations and liberations. What’s the point of exclusively breast feeding if your baby is getting wine in their milk?

I floss once a week.

I eat the rest of my kid’s meals. (Which quite honestly are homemade organic goodies that I make because I’m a chef.)

I literally begged for an epidural. When they told me I couldn’t have one, I acted like a complete baby until they got me one. There were two babies in the room for about 10 minutes. Me and the one inside me.

I take pregnancy tests monthly. Not that we don’t use birth control because we do, er, sometimes. But because I am tremendously scared of having 3 under 3. 2 under 2 is like having twins except one can run and the other can’t.

I get woken up by kids at least 3 times a week.

I had a glass of wine while I was pregnant.

I am never going to be a size 2 again. A normal body will have to do. Oh the humanity.

I have not decided which Catholic Montessori Charter school my kid will go to in 2 years.

And the list goes on and on and on…

But there are a lot of things I do right and someday I will just have to give myself credit for them. Until then, hopefully my daily glass of wine ritual has not screwed my sons up for life.

Thanks Mom.

Let’s all take a chapter from Glennon Melton’s book and put the guns down.

Sweaty eyeballs and Hooters T-Shirts.

14 Jul

I took my daughter to camp yesterday. This was basically the scene upon drop-off…

Me: Parking in the wrong area because I can’t seem to do anything right. Consequently having to walk several hundred miles to get to the school gymnasium aptly named (and clearly labeled) “School Gymnasium.” P.S. It was 105 degrees out.

Every other Mother there: Parking in the right area and looking at me strangely when I walk up, sweating profusely, carrying the baby and dragging my four-year old behind me.

"Can anyone tell me where the gym is? I have a great deal of sweat in my eyeballs."

Me: To insolent looking teenager, charged with the task of “greeting” campers at the door, “Hi, do you know which group my daughter is in?” Blank stare and possible drool coming out of her mouth? Neat. Text me, I guess?

Every other Mother there: Overhearing this ridiculous question, shoots me a dirty look because she has already interrogated her child’s camp counselor with questions such as “What do you plan to do in the case of an emergency?” and “Do you have an epi pen handy?” or “What are your credentials?” Um, I’m going to go ahead guess not smoking crystal meth and having a reliable car. It is summer camp after all.

Me: To camp counselor, “Um, she forgot her shoes. Do you have any extras?”

Every other Mother there: To each other and anyone who would listen, “I gotta get home so I can decoupage <enter clever child’s name here’s> bookcase, compost my organically, natural garden and bake a cake (gluten free of course) for tonight’s Daisy Scout meeting. And then go to Zumba.”

This is so easy and fun.

Me: Basically wearing a Hooters t-shirt and ripped jean shorts circa 1998:  “Oh. Me too.” Blatant lie. I was really just going to get a dump sticker, go to the dump (face stab husband) and attempt to finish off the laundry monster taking over my life-slash-finish Game of Thrones on DVR (amazing show that involves tons of sex, midgets and dragons). Watch it.

Point: It seemed like every other mom was in amazing shape, had their shit together in a very hip sort of way and wasn’t wearing a T&A shirt. Weird.

Their cars were clean and organized, while mine had stickers all over the back window and smelled like cheese and taboule.

One mother was wearing a headband that said “Born to Run” and was doing wind sprints in between cars. While talking about running. We get it. You like to run. But, do you have an extra juicebox? Others were off to do something amazing like volunteer at the library or go to Michael’s to get scrapbooking shit.

If they weren’t talking about their plans to change the world while their child was at camp, they were making  plans to get together for a playdate after camp. I was concentrating on getting home to change my clothes. And convincing people to not call DSS on me.

At pick-up, my daughter was grinning and was more than excited to see me. I guess I’m doing something right.

Oh and I got the damn dump sticker. And have made two adorable people.

Decoupage this.

 
 
 

The phone, the phone is ringing

4 May

It's the new Good Night Moon

So at 3:00 a.m. this morning, as I was removing my four-year old daughter’s big toe from my nasal cavity, I thought to myself, it’s time for some mofo sleep training.

This is the baby girl (“BG”) who slept through the night at an early age, happily stayed in her crib until she was three and who I endlessly gloated about. “Oh, the Ferber method? Pffftttt. My daughter is a great sleeper. Sucks to be you….” Flips hair.

Until one night. The door whips open and as my husband dives under the bed to protect himself against the serial killer who was surely going to bludgeon us to death – thanks hun, my knight in shining armor – I see her shadow in the doorway.

“Mommy, daddy, guess what I can do?!” Oh, I don’t know. Never sleep again? Lesson learned: Don’t be a douchy, bragadocious Mom. It will come back to haunt you. Like when you are horrible to a boyfriend and he ends up being your child’s soccer coach fifteen years later.

This was three months ago. Since then our patented four-part bedtime routine of bath, brush, book and bed has turned into a several hour process that ends between 9:00 and 10:30 with me watching the GODDAMN Wonder Pets again (please God, kill them all) until she falls asleep. Not before kicking, punching and pushing me out of my seven inch spot.

Some background: BG is spirited (bossy), independent (kind of mean) and clever (somewhat manipulative and more intelligent than I am).

Aside from a Benadryl dosing and a chained link fence, any tips on sleep training would be appreciated.

My sex life and bruised kidneys thank you.

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